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Gurumapa

Gurumapa (Devanagari: गुरुमापा) is an aggressive, carnivorous wild man in Nepali folklore. It is still believed to exist today by certain locals. The story of Gurumapa is one of the most well known folk tales in Newar society. He is depicted as a giant with a terrifying face and protruding fangs.

The Story

The story starts with an inveterate named Kesh Chandra who lived in Itumbaha, a sacred courtyard in central Kathmandu. After he had gambled away all of his property, he went to live with his sister. When he stole even the plate on which his lunch was served to gamble, his sister, wishing to teach him a lesson, served his rice on the floor. When Kesh Chandra awoke, he found that pigeons had eaten everything. He was so saddened that he broke into tears. Taking pity on him, the pigeons left their droppings which turned into gold. There was so much gold that he couldn't carry it all. As he was pondering what to do, he saw Gurumapa, a man-eating giant that lived in the forest,

Tinkhya 1939

Tinkhya (Tundikhel) open field in Kathmandu, ca 1939

approaching. He had been attracted by the smell of prey.

Kesh Chandran pacified him and persuaded him to carry the gold to his home with the promise of a feast and the right to take away children. The local villagers were not happy with Gurumapa being responsible for the disappearance of children. The local residents then decided that it was not safe to keep Gurumapa in the neighborhood. They promised to provide him an annual feast of boiled rice and buffalo meat if he agreed to live on the field of Tinkhya (Tundikhel). And so the giant was persuaded to move out. To this day, the people of the locality prepare a feast on the day of Ghode Jatra for Gurumapa and leave it on the field which is now a parade ground.

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